The two men vying to be the next Virginia governor went head-to-head in their final debate before election day. They covered several topics, including the economy and the opioid epidemic, but they also got in plenty of jabs at each other's expense.
Democrat Ralph Northam and Republican Ed Gillespie squared off at the University of Virginia at Wise. Libertarian Cliff Hyra was not included but tweeted during the debate.
Northam and Gillespie focused much of their attention on the state of rural Virginia, but there were plenty of jabs when they discussed their plans for the economy and education.
The University of Virginia's College at Wise, the Southwestern Virginia Technology Council and the University of Virginia's Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy co-hosted the event. Local NBC affiliate WCYB's anchor Paul Johnson moderated the debate.
"The historic debate gives the region an opportunity to learn more about each candidate and the issues that are important to southwestern Virginia and the entire Commonwealth," UVa-Wise Chancellor Donna P. Henry said. "We are honored to join the Southwestern Virginia Technology Council and the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy in hosting the debate on our campus."
"The Southwestern VA Technology Council echoes Chancellor Henry's words and we thank both candidates for choosing this area of the Commonwealth for this most important debate," SWVTC Chief Executive Officer Esther Bolling said.
"UVA is pleased to partner with the College at Wise and Southwestern Virginia Technology Council to host this important debate," said UVA President Teresa A. Sullivan. "We commend both candidates for their willingness to debate alternative policy responses to the social and economic challenges facing the Commonwealth today."
Northam currently leads Gillespie by 7 points, according to the latest poll released Monday from the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University. Other polls show the candidates neck-and-neck.
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